Our Approach to Data-Driven Design

11 min read
Published September 22, 2023   |  Last Updated May 22, 2024

The CRI Advantage – Our Approach

We take a comprehensive and disciplined approach to Data-Driven Digital Menu Boards (DMBs) to ensure maximum results and return on investment (ROI). Our methodology revolves around three core principles of content creation for digital menu board and digital signage solutions:

  1. Data-Driven Content Strategy: We believe that data and analysis should be at the center of all decisions related to the content displayed on the DMBs. This means gathering data on guest preferences, behavior, and buying patterns to inform the menu's design and presentation. We use data analytics to understand which items are popular, what influences guest choices, and how to optimize the menu layout for better engagement and sales.

  2. DMB Optimization and Testing: Just like culinary organizations test ingredients and recipes for menu inclusion, we employ the same level of discipline to test and optimize DMB content. By conducting controlled experiments and A/B testing, we can measure the impact of different menu layouts, animations, and content variations. This approach helps us determine what works best for driving revenue and improving the guest experience.

  3. Harvesting Guest Insights: Through data-driven DMBs, we gain valuable insights into guest behavior and preferences. By analyzing the data, we can better understand our customers and make informed decisions about menu offerings, promotional strategies, and overall business operations. This data-driven approach enables us to deliver untapped value by continuously refining our offerings to cater to the evolving needs of our guests.

The success of our approach lies in its ability to deliver predictable returns on investment. By optimizing DMBs to influence guest decision-making positively, we can drive increased revenue and improved guest experience. This, in turn, leads to competitive brand differentiation and a positive impact on the bottom line.

To sum it up, we understand that Data-Driven DMBs represent a crucial opportunity to inform and influence guest decision-making, leading to increased revenue and better guest experiences. By employing data analytics and rigorous testing, we can design optimized DMB content that delivers predictable returns on investment and helps culinary organizations thrive in a competitive market.

We pioneered the concept of Data-Driven Design using our proprietary methodology partnered with powerful SCORESM technology. Here are some key aspects of their services:

  1. Data-Driven Design: focuses on content and communications at the point of engagement and decision-making. By leveraging data, they tailor the digital menu board content and other digital experiences to influence customer choices positively.

  2. Predictive Analytics: Through data analysis, CRI identifies the most effective levers to drive results. We use predictive analytics to harvest critical customer insights and deliver untapped value. This approach helps businesses make informed decisions to improve their offerings and guest experience.

  3. Price & Performance Optimization: By analyzing data, we pinpoint and determine various key performance indicators such as average transaction value, margin gains, per capita consumption, spending patterns, and the impact of targeted items on profitability. This data-driven approach maximizes profit for businesses.

  4. Combo Analytics: The company assesses which combinations of products and items, when presented together, create the most effective calls to action for driving desired outcomes. By understanding these combinations, businesses can improve the effectiveness of their marketing and promotional efforts.
  5. Customer Impact: We closely monitor and measure the entire customer journey to determine touch-point optimization. This involves analyzing data from various interactions to improve customer experiences and drive better results.

  6. Pilot Testing: A/B testing scenarios for pilot programs designed to influence customer decision-making, enhance their experience, and continually gain insights on guest behavior. This iterative testing process ensures that the digital experiences are continuously optimized for better results.

We assess all facets of digital to identify and recommend tweaks for value extraction


The Power of SCORESM

The SCORESM suite of diagnostic analytics is a comprehensive methodology designed to identify opportunities within specific businesses and create strategies to capitalize on those opportunities effectively. With Six Sigma underpinnings, the SCORESM methodology connects operational KPIs to P&L and Investment outcomes with strategic and tactical recommendations to exploit opportunities in a business. The diagnostic analytics in the suite provide data-driven insights to support the decision-making process and drive positive outcomes for the business. We’re able to employ all or some of the tools within this suite to curate results based on the task at hand. The SCORESM methodology can be utilized to help identify strengths, challenges, opportunities, risks, and execute strategies to enhance overall company performance for value creation. Digital transformation is often part a key enabler and when focused on menu board analytics and enhancing the guest experience, CRI can delve into data-driven insights related to customer behavior, buying patterns, and preferences. By utilizing predictive analytics and effective testing, we can optimize the content on digital menu boards to influence customer decision-making positively.

The SCORESM Strategy for Menu Boards


Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3




Sales, Cost Reductions, Margin Improvements




New F&B Initiatives




Concession Marketing




Concession Operations




Sales Analyses




Basket/COGS Analyses




Unit Payroll Analysis




Forecasting Tools




Design Recommendations




Merchandising Review




Branding Initiatives




Supply Chain/Vendors



Policies, Practices, Procedures




Unit P&L Analyses



Business Plan



Project Plan




High-Level DMB Objectives:

Dayparting/Suggestive Selling:

  • By Daypart
  • By Hour
  • By Meal Occasion
  • Pre/Post Event Occasions
  • Dynamic Correlation


  • Contextual/Non-Contextual
  • Sustaining/Micro-Momented
  • Pre-Purchase/Point of Purchase
  • Order Confirmation
  • Wayfinding
  • Basket Composition



Program/Promotion Specific Menus:

  • By Discount Orientation
  • By Brand
  • By Marketing Asset
  • By Sponsorship Property
  • Increased
  • Number/Frequency/Concurrent
Menu Tie-Ins:
  • Retail Inventory
  • Weather

Dynamic Pricing 

Flexibility (Labeling, Nutritional)



Data & Asset Requirements

Data Requirements

  • POS transaction data containing data for every transaction, items purchased,
    quantity and amount.
  • Data period: Latest 12 months.
  • Sites: All or a sample of sites as pre-determined.
  • Data format: SQL Server dump or Flat files preferable. If any other format, please let us know in advance.
  • List of concession menu items, categories, item price and food cost (to calculate margin on items).

Creative Requirements

  • High-res picture of current menu board.
  • High-res assets including food imagery and branding guides.
  • Please highlight vendors or brands that require high visibility on the menu.

CRI Content Creation & Management Services

CRI offers content creation and management services through our fully-staffed, in-house content and implementation teams. Our teams provide professional creative services for the design, development, production, and delivery of visual content. Our services include: 

  • Optimizing existing customer content assets
  • Securing assets from third parties
  • Graphic design and animation
  • Design and creation of dynamic content
  • Video production and/or photography

CRI also thrives as an outsourced content services/management bureau, offering professional content scheduling and implementation services (e.g., dayparting, new content deployment, creation of new templates and/or layouts, and assistance with limited-time-offer (“LTO”) campaigns).

Our technical depth and experience create efficiencies for our customers, allowing them to focus on running their core business. Outsourcing these services to CRI prevents the unnecessary addition of headcount or allocation of incremental workload to existing team members who may be unfamiliar with SaaS-based technologies.

National Food Services Business


SCORE was conducted for a major Food and Beverage Client with an extensive and diverse food service business comprised of numerous FSR, QSR, Concessions and Lounge/Bar concepts , all of which catered to a traffic flow where large volumes of people had to be served in punctuated periods of time. The initial deep dive revealed many challenges facing the Client, including speed of service, declining averages check size, inefficiencies in throughput, and perceived complexities in their menu offerings. These challenges were negatively impacting their revenues, which –considering their 300+ Franchise Units serving over 70 million customers annually, represented a material opportunity cost.

In response to the analysis, the recommended solution was a strategic overhaul of the business which entailed everything from menu engineering to facility design including new marketing and merchandising techniques to drive transaction throughput and basket size with labor efficiencies. Twokey areas were contextual product positioning and transaction throughput. By strategically positioning their products and offerings in the right context, the client could better meet customer needs and preferences, potentially leading to increased sales and check averages.

Additionally, optimizing transaction throughput was crucial to addressing the speed of service challenges and overall operational efficiency. By streamlining processes and reducing complexities in their menu offerings, the client could serve customers more efficiently, ultimately reducing opportunity costs and increasing overall revenue.

The success of this transformational strategy was measured through a period of testing and evaluation, during which the results showed significant improvements in the client's business performance. With a fresh approach to product positioning and enhanced transaction throughput, the Food and Beverage Client was able to overcome their previous challenges and achieve improved financial and operational outcomes.

National Fast Casual Dining Restaurant


CRI replaced an existing digital menu board solution and content with its own data-driven menu design at 20 sites of a nationwide fast casual brand. Leading with a primary objective to increase the average check size via driving up-sell adoption of beverages and sides to drive compelling ROI for digital menu boards. The brand’s secondary objective was to simplify to the readability of menus to improve the customer experience and appreciation of alternative food options. Following 12 weeks of testing, results were measured against controls and lead to a Nationwide roll out.

  • Creative Realities’ data-driven design influenced overall sales by 1.5% at test sites as compared to control sites, representing an annualized per store average sales lift of $24,000.
  • CRI’s simplified combo menu design successfully retained the combo mix performance and raised al-a-carte sandwich sales by 1.3%.
  • Fountain beverage and sides showed a 2% and 9.5% lift as more customers “made their own combos” with a variety of sandwich options that were available.

National Food and Beverage Vendor

Screenshot 2023-09-19 at 4.35.21 PM-1

Creative Realities has a long history of working hand-in-hand with national food and beverage vendors in a number of vertical markets and unique environments. We recently partnered with a national food and beverage brand to promote signature pairings of food and beverage items with the use of imagery, up-sells verbiage, and call to action text.

The primary objective was to increase the instance in which clients purchased items together paired with a desire to increase overall ROI and track success of regular versus alcoholic beverages.

  • Creative Realities’ data-driven, optimized design influenced an average check lift of 5.7%, translating into an annualized sales lift of over $240,000.
  • The position and presentation of the parings menu raised meal purchases by 25.5% along with an increase in high margin snack add-ons of 18.25%.
  • Fountain beverages and alcoholic beverages produced increases of 5.7% and 1.3%, respectively, as more customers responded to suggested pairings.

International Theatre Chain


In partnership with an international beverage vendor, CRI assisted an international theatre chain to increase ROI on digital menu board assets through (1) combo/hot food purchases, and (2) dessert up-sells. The client sought to test the effectiveness of menu board animation on consumer purchasing behavior.

Following six months of A/B menu and merchandising testing across 16 test locations, the results were measured against controls and led to a circuit-wide menu board launch.

  • Creative Realities’ data-driven design produced sales lift at in excess of 1%, representing value of $397,300 on an annualized basis.
  • Design changes drove hot food sales to increase by a staggering 43%, evidencing the effectiveness of CRI’s zone positioning in correlation with targeted product animations.
  • Candy and Ice Cream sales experienced a lift of 6% and 1.8%, respectively, as customers responded to well-positioned up-sell messaging.

The CRI Advantage – Our Experts

Amanda-Starr-WT-BKAmanda Starr
Sr. Director, Creative and Implementation Services

Amanda Starr is an accomplished professional with a strong background in marketing and branded consumer products (CPG). She currently holds the position of Senior Director of Creative and Implementation Services at Creative Realities, Inc. Her role involves leading a cross-functional team of designers, UX/UI specialists, and technologists. Together, they are responsible for curating, creating, and developing content for various commercial environments, such as Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs), Convenience Stores (C-Stores), Stadiums, Arenas, and Retail spaces.

Amanda is one of the original architects of data-driven design, a methodology that focuses on optimizing the creative process through customer analytics and insights. By understanding customer behavior and preferences, Amanda and her team can create content that resonates and influences customer actions.

Her extensive experience in the digital signage industry spans nearly a decade, providing her with in-depth knowledge of how content needs to be curated, organized, and refreshed for automation at scale. This expertise positions her and her team to see content creation and consumption from a unique perspective, giving them a competitive edge in the industry.

Based in Atlanta, Amanda is undoubtedly well-connected in her field and frequently shares valuable insights and stories from her experiences in the industry. With a background in QSR marketing and branded consumer products, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her current role. Her understanding of content creation and its impact on consumer behavior makes her a crucial asset to Creative Realities, Inc. and their clients.

George_BioPic-BW-WT-BKGeorge Sauter
Chief Strategy Officer/Head of Corporate Development

George Sautter is Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Corporate Development at Creative Realities Inc. He is also a Principal at The Pretium Company, LLC- a boutique consulting firm providing an array of advisory services including Strategy & Strategic Planning, M&A, Valuation, FP&A, Analytics, Brand & Business Development, Marketing & Operations Management to companies in the Entertainment, Experiential Leisure, DOOH/Digital Signage, Digital Media, Retail, Hospitality & Lodging and Food Service industries. He has worked for more than 35 years in the Theatre Exhibition, Retail, Food Service and Hospitality industries. In addition to an extensive background in operations, finance and strategic marketing, Mr. Sautter brings specific expertise in corporate strategy, strategic planning, M&A, valuation, brand development, strategic marketing, innovation management, enterprise transformation and business development. He managed over $2.5 billion in P&L and he has an extensive history of leading high-value SBUs and large multi-unit enterprises.

Mr. Sautter previously held leadership positions at Cineplex Entertainment, Loews Cineplex Entertainment, Planet Hollywood International, National Amusements, Inc. and Cineplex Odeon Corporation. Prior to Creative Realities, Mr. Sautter served as the Cineplex Entertainment’s  Executive Vice President of Corporate Development & Strategy where he was responsible for corporate development, corporate strategy, strategic planning, FP&A, data science and business development across the enterprise. He led the company’s strategic entry into Experiential Leisure overseeing the development of The Rec Room concept, redevelopment of Playdium, M&A to build the Player One Amusement Group as well as related strategic investments and commercial partnerships. He has developed many proprietary FSR/QSR concepts and led Cineplex’s diverse F&B portfolio with annual revenues of $400M with traffic of over 70 million people per year. 

Will Logan & Ryan Mudd
CFO & Controller

Will: Graduated Bellarmine University, Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Economics. Mr. Logan is a licensed CPA. Will_BioPic-BW-WT-BK
Ryan: Graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting. Mr. Mudd is a licensed CPA. ryan



Both Mr. Logan and Mr. Mudd spent a decade-plus at EY, a ‘Big 4’ accounting firm, leading teams servicing large public company clients, with additional focus in supporting their clients through a number of strategic transactions, including mergers & acquisitions, divestitures, and IPOs. During their respective tenures with EY, advancements in technology and the growing availability of large data sets provided auditors with new opportunities to enhance the efficiency, effectiveness, and depth of their audit procedures. Both Mr. Logan and Mr. Mudd lead their teams in the development and adoption of rapidly evolving data analytics models and tools which were leveraged to analyze vast datasets in real-time.  Mr. Logan and Mr. Mudd leveraged these tools to quickly identify patterns, trends, and anomalies, leading to value-add findings for their clients and allowing their teams to focus efforts on areas with higher risks, potential errors, or fraud indicators.  Each of them have deep familiarity with the management and analysis of large data models and parsing data for critical relationships that enhance decision making.

Additional Informational Links:
  1. The CRI Advantage: https://vimeo.com/563242785/9242373b09
  2. CRI Analytics Approach: https://vimeo.com/574119332/67d3e599e1
  3. CRI’s Drive Thru Solution: https://vimeo.com/528363514/da7cbbec16
We look forward to hearing from you!

Amanda Starr
Senior Director, Creative & Implementation Services

George Sauter
Chief Strategy Officer/Head of Corporate Development

Lisa Lemon-Clark
VP, Sales

Rodrick C. Glass
EVP, Sales & Business Development